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Daily Record

Funding boost for group supporting different ethnic communities in Renfrewshire

A group that aims to bring together communities of different ethnicities from across Renfrewshire will continue its good work thanks to a lottery funding boost.

IN-Ren is Renfrewshire’s first integration forum for people of all ethnic backgrounds and was launched in August last year.

Now thanks to £135,000 of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, the group will continue until Spring 2025.

IN-Ren invites experts in things like health improvement, the Department for Work and pensions and other local organisations to talk about what they do, discuss barriers and challenges and find ways to improve how people from ethnically diverse backgrounds can access and see what’s available to them.

As well as the funding continuing this forum, it will also support work to create fairer access to health, employability, learning, arts and culture.

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Since its launch, the IN-Ren Network has a growing membership of people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Johannes Gonani is one of them. Back in 2018 Johannes, who lives in Paisley, set up Pachedu, a charity which supports diverse minorities living in Renfrewshire and across the West of Scotland to be more visible and proactive in shaping their communities.

Johannes Gonani (Paisley Daily Express)

He is well aware of the importance of projects like IN-Ren in increasing visibility and knowledge.

“We’re delighted that IN-Ren has gotten off to a great start,” he said. “But we have a lot of work to do. Many diverse ethnic communities have very little or no links within their local area or on a wider level.

“Statistics are highlighting that minority ethnic communities are struggling in the areas of health and employability due to a combination of the effects of Covid-19, lack of knowledge, poverty, and low socio-economic status. It is crucially important for IN-Ren to develop as a group that influences local decision makers.”

IN-Ren is delivered by Engage Renfrewshire, the third-sector interface which supports Renfrewshire charities and not-for-profit groups.

In June, Engage Renfrewshire will be launching a Race Equality Toolkit for employers and practitioners to better understand the barriers faced by ethnically diverse communities to accessing services.

Zaffir Hakim is the IN-Ren Network Officer at Engage Renfrewshire. He said: “We’re delighted to have received this National Lottery funding which will help us build on work already begun during lockdown, supporting our ethnically diverse communities to overcome barriers accessing health and employability services.

“Everyone deserves the same access to opportunities, but we know that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“We’re working in partnership with many local agencies to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their ethnicity, has fair access to good health and meaningful jobs in Renfrewshire.”

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still, added: “This project delivered by Engage Renfrewshire, is a great example of community activity in action, showing just what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause or to help others.

“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is helping to support this vital work and to help communities thrive.”

For more information about the Race Equality toolkit, or to get involved in IN-Ren, contact info@engagerenfrewshire.com or 0141 887 7707.

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